ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian Kurdish authorities on Monday handed over five orphans who belong to a family that joined the so-called Islamic State to Norwegian authorities, a spokesperson for the Kurdish administration of northeast Syria said.
According to spokesperson Kamal Akef, the decision was made following a request from Norway.
“Five Norwegian orphans related to ISIS [members] were handed over to a delegation from the Norwegian foreign ministry,” Akef said in a statement.
“The aim is to rescue the children from the atmosphere of extremism, and to enable them to go back to their countries and get proper rehabilitation and be reintegrated in their communities,” he added.
Norway’s foreign ministry confirmed it had sent a delegation to meet with the Syrian Kurdish officials to discuss the repatriation of the five children, all members of the same family.
“The Norwegian authorities have long been attempting to find a solution for orphaned children,” ministry spokesperson Ingrid Kvammen Ekker was quoted as saying by AFP.
The parents of the children were members of the Islamic State and are believed to be dead or missing, according to media outlets in Norway.
Three of the five children were born in Norway while the other two were born in Syria after their parents traveled there in 2015 to join the terror group, Norway’s Aftenpostenreported.
At least 40 other children with ties to Norway remain stranded in Syria. Monday’s transfer was the first of its kind for Norway, Syrian Kurdish officials said.
Other nations like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Sweden have also repatriated children who belong to Islamic State families.